Frame – Three Quick Personal Stories
It is both a blessing and a curse to live in a town where all the locals know, or know of, everyone. It’s a unique place because it’s surrounded by a large metropolitan area, Fort Lauderdale. But once across the bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway, the city is left behind and the smallish seaside town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea takes over.
There is a healthy turnover of tourists and part-time residents (“snowbirds”). Separate from that population are the folks who live here permanently. That’s me and a small few thousand. During the off-season, summer, when the hot and humid nastiness smothers us, the local population is together. Normally, we all mostly get along with a polite friendliness and some typical gossip. Of course, familiarity does breed some contempt.
There are three local women who loathe me. They are all older than me, if not in age, in hard-bitten experience with too much tough living along with past and present bad decisions. I won’t go into details of a life in the sun does to the skin. All three have this problem. With their tough hides come tough personalities. Sophisticated, these dames ain’t.
Why they loathe me, I have a hunch why but it’s not particularly relevant here. I pay them little attention aside from being briefly cordial. I know they loathe me from a few verbal exchanges that were inflicted on me. For each of the three woman, I took a different tactic but held to my strategy of having very strong frame. Some background here… in each exchange, the women were drunk to some degree.
The first incident happened at my local neighborhood dive bar. I was sitting across the bar, not talking to anyone, my dog at my feet. I was fiddling around with my smart phone. My dog, sitting on the floor next to me, barked a couple of times.
“Andrew! Shut that fucking dog up!” screamed a woman from the other side of the bar. This was one of the women in town who loathes me.
I just looked at the woman and didn’t say anything. The bartender, a good guy and almost standing between us, wasn’t getting involved.
In an attempt to escalate, the woman continued and screamed at me again. “You’re a fucking scumbag!”. Having a good frame, I came back with a classic agree and amplify.
“You’re right Laurie! I’m a scumbag! I come from a family of scumbags!”
She glared at me. I continued.
“My father was a scumbag, my grandfather was a scumbag…”
Her glare got worse.
“but my great-grandfather was a total douchebag!”
With that, the bartender burst out laughing. Several other patrons overhearing the verbal exchange also started laughing. I quickly went back to my smart phone. I didn’t waste a further look at the woman.
The next incident came from my neighbor, a woman I’ve written about her previously. She often spends her evenings sitting outside, smoking cigarettes and drinking cheap beer until she gets obstreperous with the drink. The booze melts what little of a verbal filter she still possesses. Because of temporary Internet connectivity issues I had to walk past her towards the back of the building to capture a Wifi signal on my phone. She was ready at ambush me verbally when I walked past the old lady and gave her a polite greeting as I always do.
“You going back there like the loser neighbor?”
The neighbor in the front unit also sometimes does the same thing because of Wifi issues.
“Yup, I have connectivity issues” I replied.
“You’re a fucking loser like her” was her pithy retort. I was not fazed because I’ve experienced this kind of stuff from her previously. I simply laughed and continued walking.
On return a few minutes later, she continued. “You piss me off so much because…” She spouted off a things about my work schedule (I work a lot from home) and that I had no shame or some such nonsense, yadda yadda yadda. I actually stopped to address her, with a smirk on my face.
“Your emotional response to me is not my problem. That’s your problem” I said pleasantly. “I actually make you angry? That’s something you have control over.” This stymied her completely. She was expecting a defensive, snarling response from me.
“I’ll remember that…” she said with a stammer. I didn’t know if it was a defensive comment or an acknowledgement. I didn’t care. I was still focusing on my frustrating ‘Net connectivity issue.
As I walked into my place, the old broad had a classy parting shot.
“You’re such a loser, you can only date niggers!”
“Wow, stay classy” was my calm response and I closed the door behind me.
Yes, she escalated to that point because she was desperate to break my frame by using a personal attack that is actually true. I was indeed involved with a lovely black woman and my curmudgeonly neighbor had met her on several occasions. This black woman was also from England with an hilarious Birmingham accent to go along with her lovely and dark-skinned visage. She thought I was a wanker and I thought she was a pain in the butt. Ah, ain’t dating grand? [Update, 01/01/2016 – P is reading this now]
It is now at least a month later and my old lady neighbor does not even acknowledge my existence. No matter, I still offer a pleasant greeting each time I see her. I thank that galls her in some way. Excellent.
The third woman in this string of estrogen wonder confronted me at my local pub hangout. She and another woman were bitching about Lucy, my ugly dog. I was ignoring them while I sipped ginger ale and worked on a blog post on my laptop. There were some comments about how I took care of my dog (Lucy the ugly dog was with me, as usual) but nothing really personal as my old lady neighbor had done.
Later in the evening, one of the women moved to the other side of the bar because the other had left. I was only vaguely aware of her move until she started yelling at me.
“You’re a jack ass, Andrew!” The place was pretty crowded so her loud insult wasn’t heard by many. I glanced up at her and said nothing. I looked down at my keyboard because I was gnawing on a stubborn sentence. She yelled something at me again. I completely ignored her. Eventually, she lost interest and began bothering the guy sitting closest to her. Poor fellow.
In all three instances, I never let my frame waver. I used several of the tactics I learned from reading Manosphere blogs. There was agree and amplify, amused mastery, and completely ignoring someone. The unflappable man doesn’t let words faze him. None of these three women did anything physical. They were attempting to start a fight with words. I didn’t let it happen.
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